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Best Poems Written by Tom Cunningham

Below are the all-time best Tom Cunningham poems as chosen by PoetrySoup members

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A funny thing happened on the way to my hanging

A funny thing happened on the way to my hanging
Couldn't sleep the night before my head was banging
I was innocent of a crime that I did not commit
But they roughed me up and got me to admit.

The face on the wanted posters said it was me
Anyone seeing those posters would be inclined to agree
I was in a horse drawn prison wagon with bars down the side
Thinking to myself, it will be my last ever ride.

Heading for the gallows then onto Boot hill
To pay for shooting a bank teller that I didn't kill
Two miles from the town all hell did break loose
Unbeknownst to me I'd be dodging the noose.

For ten desperados' brought the wagon to stop
Then ordered the guards, their weapons they drop 
Some gang members got me out and they set me free
The gang leader approached and he looked just like me.

He said " in this life you look out for your own "
Then he told me something that I hadn't known
" We were Separated at birth and we had the same mother "
And that this mean desperado was in fact my twin brother .

 " We heard that you'd been framed for our crime spree
But you are my brother and that's why we've set you free.
The teller had died because he went for his gun
We grabbed all the money and went on the run ".

He gave me some money and said " start a new life "
Told me head south, settle down and find a good wife
There was so much I wanted to ask him and so much to say 
My brother said " some other time, best be on your way " .

Written on 4th July 2018.
For a funny thing happened on the way to...poetry contest, sponsored by Robert Haigh.

Copyright © Tom Cunningham | Year Posted 2018

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walking gracefully  
with a pendulum movement ~
a herd of giraffes   

the mass migration
crocodiles at the river~
food for the taking

gazelles are running  
a hungry cheetah gives chase~
speed is the winner  

a lone male lion  
approaches a sleeping pride~
the battle begins  

an elephant herd  
arrive at the water hole~
use trunks to cool down

a swarm of locusts
devouring vegetation~
skeletal branches  

army on the move 
soldier ant battalion~
have left a scorched earth

vultures in the trees  
animals weakened by thirst~
death is imminent  

a downed buffalo  
lions watch as herd returns~
bulls scatter the pride  

basking in cool mud
the african river horse~

laughing hyenas  
find an unguarded carcass~
scavengers feasting  

at the water hole  
animals quenching their thirst~
alert for danger  

a crash of rhino  
hunted for their ivory~
extinction looming  

a small antelope  
found on the African plains~
cute looking dik dik 

the baobab tree  
silhouetted at sunset~
african icon

Written 13th May 2018

For best haiku poetry contest

Sponsored By Chantelle Ann Cooke.

Copyright © Tom Cunningham | Year Posted 2018

Details | Tom Cunningham Poem

The 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic

In nineteen eighteen there was an outbreak of flu
Caused little concern, only affected a few
But it returned with a vengeance later that year
And the world over it caused widespread fear.

First reported in Spain, and around the world spread
When it was over, fifty million people were dead
Hospitals were stretched and they struggled to cope
For both young and old, there wasn't much hope.

It affected the lungs and caused skin to turn blue
Only comfort was given it was all they could do
In effect it caused people to suffocate
And continued to spread at an alarming rate.

People advised to avoid crowds and to wear masks
They struggled to perform even basic daily tasks
Remote areas in the world were affected too
By this airborne killer virus, the great Spanish flu.

Effort's were made to slow down this disease
But slowly and surely it brought the world to its knees
Shops opening times were staggered all over the lands
People strongly advised not to shake hands.

Undertakers were struggling to cope with demands
Families' buried loved ones with their own hands
Healthy men and women and children too
Were all falling victim to the great Spanish flu.

Because of World War One, doctors were few
And those that were available, many fell sick too
Temporary hospital's set up in schools or church hall
With many brave volunteers answering the call.

They closed many schools, services were hit too
With workers struck down by this merciless flu
Late nineteen nineteen  the virus reached its peak
Immunity grew stronger but it still struck  the weak.

Sadly mankind had suffered and paid a great cost
To the great Spanish flu with millions of lives lost
The pandemic was now over, survivors started to thrive
But were mournful of the millions who did not survive.

Written 4th  April 2018.

( Dedicated to the fifty million people who died
in the Spanish flu pandemic in the years 1918 to 1919. )

Copyright © Tom Cunningham | Year Posted 2018

Details | Tom Cunningham Poem

The Black Cloak

It's like a black cloak around our world bringing misery and death
Virologists are saying " you ain't seen nothing yet" 
If only our leaders would look back, at how these viruses thrive 
They'd have got answers in history books and many would still be alive. 

It will soon be the norm for families each and everyday
To attend funerals of loved ones who have passed away 
And while adults pay their respects and kneel down to pray 
Children will get bored and around the tombstones they'll play. 

Every country takes action their way and will not be told 
If they follow the W.H.O. 's advice more would live to be old
But it's far too late now covid - 19  is thriving 
While we fight the virus with emphasis on surviving. 

Don't mix with others and steer well clear of the crowd 
Or it might be you that will be covered with a shroud 
To increase your chance of survival, ruthless you've got to be 
Even keeping a safe distance from your own family. 

Crime is now rife there's profiteering and panic buying
Not enough is being done and the death toll is rising 
Some impliment soft measures that seem quite funny
They don't care about you it's all about the money. 

We all need to take care singing from the same hymn sheet 
Or it won't be too long before the army's on the street
People will get mean and desperate in order to thrive
Pushing aside the weak and vulnerable who'll struggle to survive. 

Our health workers pushed to the limit administering care 
While the selfish among us strip supermarket shelves bare
But others are doing good things for their fellow man
No one knows if they'll get ill so do good deeds while you can. 

Written 21st March 2020.

Copyright © Tom Cunningham | Year Posted 2020

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Chainsaw Blues - bawdy limerick LOL

There was a lumberjack from Borehamwood 
A chainsaw mishap took off his manhood
His Love life now a mess 
And it caused him great stress
So he made himself one out of some wood .  
He went to bed one night full of desire
Sue his wife put on her sexy attire 
Things got steamy and hot 
He gave it all he got  
But with passion and friction it caught fire . 

Written 5th March 2019.

For make me actually LOL 2 poetry contest 

Sponsored by Nina Parmenter.

Copyright © Tom Cunningham | Year Posted 2019

Details | Tom Cunningham Poem

Where Did The Years Go

Remember years ago, when you were fit
Now you can't stand too long, before you have to sit
And all the times that you ran to catch your bus
Now it just passes by and you stand and cuss.

In the days gone by you'd eat like a horse
Now when you go out it's only one course
And much smaller bites when you do eat
Because your sweet tooth has cost you your teeth.

And the beautiful body you had as a young teen
Now when you go to the beach, you hope you're not seen
And tying your laces it's hard if your tall
You have to rise slowly because you might fall.

You go up to your bed feeling alright
Chances are you'll be up in the night
Having an accident is something you dread
So you put plastic sheets all over your bed.

And your eyes are not as good  as they used to be
So you have to wear glasses just so you can see
But it's not all gloom there is the odd perk
You can stay in bed later, because you don't have to work.

And you've been through life you're wiser too
When your family need advice they'll come to you
So burn the candle both ends, just have a ball
And enjoy your life until you get the call.

Written 1ST February 2018. ( POTD 2/2/2018)

For POTD Poetry contest

Sponsored by Richard Lamoureux.

I remember receiving a comment congratulating me and I must be honest was gobsmacked to receive the honour of POTD.
From the comments I received I could see that many on soup could identify with some of the things I had mentioned in my poem.
The general feeling to sum up was ( GETTING ON IN YEARS SUCKS BIG TIME )
so we really have to make the most of what time we have left on earth.

P.S. have read your verse 'Broken People'

Copyright © Tom Cunningham | Year Posted 2018

Details | Tom Cunningham Poem


Twenty first of October in two thousand and eighteen
Was the worst disaster poetry soup had seen
Poems wiped off the website as all the poets slept
When the disaster unfolded many poets wept.

Some had spent hours composing their verses
But no backup made, the air soon filled with curses
Contest entries too vanished without trace
Sponsors left fuming they had nothing to place.

And the beautiful comments people said about you
Into a cyber space black hole they all vanished too
The next night the poems, to everyone’s dismay
Returned to the site, ‘twas like Groundhog day.

Some blamed the Russians, some blamed the C.I.A.
Others wanted revenge for what happened that day
But do rest assured, soup said “have no fear
Free membership for everyone, for a whole year”

Now that’s a kind act I’m sure you’ll agree
Remember worse disasters have happened at sea
The moral of this verse is to remind everyone
Make a backup of your work when it is done.

(This did happen, not sure about the free membership though lol.
But it is a wake up call; always back up your work.)

Copyright © Tom Cunningham | Year Posted 2018

Details | Tom Cunningham Poem

The Red Umbrella

I was going on a blind date and walked across town
The weather wasn’t kind, rain was pouring down
It was my friend’s sister and he arranged the date
She was nowhere to be seen, maybe just running late.

Then a girl with a red umbrella came towards me
Despite the pouring rain she was beautiful to see
She said” sorry I’m late my bus it broke down
I’ve just had to walk half a mile across town.”

“Get under” she said “come and take shelter”
I did as she asked and then I was beside her
I’d never noticed before and what a surprise
She had an angelic face and beautiful brown eyes.

Our eyes then met and to me that was a good sign
And from this day forward I vowed she’d be mine 
Never before had I ever felt this way
I was lost for words and didn’t know what to say.

I held her closely and we looked at each other
I would never have met her but for her brother
Then she pulled me closer and we started to kiss
I was in heaven, oh this was pure bliss.

I thought in my mind this girl would be my wife
And I was already planning the rest of my life
I’d marry her, buy a house and start a family
Have holidays at the coast, go swimming in the sea.

I then heard a loud ringing, it has just turned seven
I lay there wide awake, no longer in heaven
Sometimes things are not what they seem
The angel with brown eyes was just but a dream.

Got ready for work and went to catch the train
The sky was very grey and it started to rain
As the train was pulling out I looked over to my right
A girl with a red umbrella took my thoughts back to last night.

Written 31st October 2018

For screwed  xx poetry contest sponsored by
Rob Carmack.

Copyright © Tom Cunningham | Year Posted 2018

Details | Tom Cunningham Poem


I drove home from a party one winters night
I'd had quite a few drinks but I felt alright
It was pouring rain as I approached our town
My girlfriend said to me, "John will you slow down" .
I turned up the volume of my favorite song
And pressed hard on the pedal speeding along
I was oblivious to everything that lay up ahead
And failed to see a traffic light that was on red.

A blue car suddenly appeared right before me
I found out later it was a young man and his family
There was a loud bang as my airbag deployed
My first thoughts were my boss will be annoyed.
Next thing I knew there were blue lights all around
It was eerily peaceful there wasn't a sound
I just felt so tired all I wanted was my bed
Looked at my girlfriend and I saw she was dead.

The big shock of it all made me come to
I thought this is a bad dream; it can't be true 
A fireman got me out; he had to cut the door
There was glass, metal and blood all over the floor.
Everything was surreal and I woke up in a cell
And this was just the start of my living hell
The four people in the other car they too had died
Along with my girlfriend, I just broke down and cried.

A week later I was in court and I heard a few jeers
The Judge showed no mercy and I got twenty years
Two witnesses were called and said I was to blame
And all I could do was just hang my head in shame.
I'm in prison now all my friends disowned me
And often get flashbacks of that awful tragedy
If only I had got a taxi and chose not to drive
Then those five people I killed would still be alive.

I have trouble sleeping; I just lie there at night
Thinking of a way to try and put things right 
A year later I wrote a book telling my story
Called ,The Drunk Drivers Guilt by John.T. McCrory.
If it stops someone driving and having a drink
Or even makes a driver just stop and think
Then my book will have been worthwhile; every single word.
As a warning to others, making my mistakes heard.

Written 24th January 2020

Copyright © Tom Cunningham | Year Posted 2020

Details | Tom Cunningham Poem

Orca's Revenge

A fishing boat left the port of Kinsale 
The rain was lashing and blowing a gale
Fishing grounds were in sight
Then they had a great fright
Along side swam a giant killer whale.

A fish pong round the boat was so smelly 
"Hold your noses "cried out Captain Kelly
Whale then bit off a chunk
Fishing boat and crew sunk
They all ended up in the whales belly.

Written 5th  August 2019.

Syllables in both stanza's


Syllable check at how many syllables .com

Two sea themed limericks' poetry contest
Tania Kitchin - Sponsor .

Copyright © Tom Cunningham | Year Posted 2019